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About this Item

Title: Notices of New Books

Creator: Walt Whitman [unsigned in original]

Date: November 16, 1846

Whitman Archive ID: per.00615

Source: Brooklyn Daily Eagle 16 November 1846: [2]. Our transcription is based on a digital image of a microfilm copy of the original issue. For a description of the editorial rationale behind our treatment of the journalism, see our statement of editorial policy.

Editorial note: This piece is unsigned. However, Whitman was the editor of the Brooklyn Daily Eagle when this editorial was written, and it was first attributed to Whitman by Cleveland Rodgers and John Black in Walt Whitman, The Gathering of the Forces: Editorials, Essays, Literary and Dramatic Reviews and Other Material Written by Walt Whitman as Editor of the Brooklyn Daily Eagle in 1846 and 1847 (New York: G.P. Putnam's Sons, 1920). The piece was also included by Herbert Bergman in Walt Whitman, The Journalism. Volume I: 1834–1846 (New York: Peter Lang, 1998). The Whitman Archive editors agree that the style and content of the piece are consistent with other known Whitman writings of this period.

Contributors to digital file: Ruth L. Bohan, Hannah Fink, and Kevin McMullen

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Notices of New Books.

PHRENOLOGY, or the Doctrine of the Mental Phenomena. By J. G. Spurzheim, M. D., of Vienna and Paris, and Licentiate of the Royal College of Physicians, of London. Two volumes bound in one. Vol. 1, Physiological part; with plates. Vol. 2 Philosophical part. Fifth American edition, from the third London edition, greatly improved by the Author. Harper & Brothers, 82 Cliff st. N.Y.

Breasting the waves of detraction as a ship dashes sea–waves, Phrenology, it must now be confessed by all men who have open eyes, has at last gained a position, and a firm one, among the sciences. It seems to be useless to deny this—and the only difference is as to the laying down of the dividing lines, and how distinctly and authoritatively they can be marked. Perhaps no philosophic revolutionisers ever were attacked with more virulence—struck by more sinewy arms, or greater perseverance—than Gall, Spurzheim, and the other early Phrenologists. The great organs of taste, and criticism, and judges of literary merit, in the British Islands, came 'down' upon them as tempests come down on the oak. But the Phrenologists withstood the storm, and have gained the victory!.........This large volume of the Harpers, well–printed, teaches of course from the fountain head—from the most cautious, skeptical and careful of the Phrenologists, Dr. Spurzheim.

The OPAL; A Pure Gift for the Holidays.1 1847. Edited by John Keese.2 With illustrations by J.G Chapman.3 N.Y., J.C. Riker 129 Fulton st.

As the pictures in an Annual4 are an important part of it, we have looked first, (like a child,) at them. 'Crossing the brook,' and the colored picture of a young girl carrying fruit— with seven others, ('The Wasted Fountains,' 'Roman Girl,' 'The Deluge,' 'The Summer Stream,' 'The Sentinel,' 'The Widow,' and 'Judas,') comprise them—and true bits of art most of them are. 'The Sentinel' is one which we have rarely seen surpassed; the figure of the sleeping boy is free and easy as child life itself—and the dog is worthy of Landseer5……In binding, paper, and print, the Opal is superbly endowed; we particularly like the large clear type—so refreshing to the eye, and so rare in these days of 'making the most' of everything………The literary contents of the Opal are contributed by the poet Longfellow, Rev. Mr. Pierpoint, H. T. Tuckerman, Rev. H. B. Bascom, Alfred B. Street, Whittier, Mrs. Sigourney, C. E. Lester,6 Rev. Mr. Shroeder7 and many other ladies and gentlemen. The following is by H. J. S****e,8 of Brooklyn:

Autumn days.
Sleeps the soft south nursing its delicate breath
To fan the first buds of the early Spring:
The Summer, sighing, mourns her faded wreath,
Its many colored glories, withering
Beneath the kisses of the naked north,
Who yet in frowns approaches not, but smiles
O'er the departing season, and breathes forth
A fragrance as of summer; till at whiles
All that is sweetest in the circling year
Seems softly blent in one delicious hour
Making dim visions of some former sphere,
Where sorrow, such as earth owns, has no power
To veil the changeless lustre of the skies,
But mind and matter form one Paradise.

SACRED POEMS. By N. P. Willis. N. Y., Published by Clark & Austin.

The reader of this pretty little volume will doubtless behold many familiar lines, for Mr. Willis's poems have enjoyed a rare popularity in the way of being copied. There are some pieces, however, not so familiar. Of this character, (and how passing beautiful it is!) is the piece commencing

"I have enough, O God! My heart to night

Runs over with the fullness of content;"

—which we have marked for publication.

History of the AMERICAN REVOLUTION. First published in London, under the superintendence of the Society for the Diffusion of Useful Knowledge. Improved with maps and other Illustrations; also revised and enlarged, by Rev. J. L. Blake, D. D., author of 'Sketches of American History.' Harpers, 82 Cliff st., N. Y.

Its title explains fully the scope of this little work— which is on a subject that of course can never be uninteresting to Americans. We should suppose it a convenient book for introduction into our Public and other Schools.


This serial and pictorial publication is to be completed in 40 numbers. Number 11 brings down matters to the exciting times during the middle of the 16th century.

THE DUKE OF BURGUNDY, OR THE CHRONICLES OF FRANCE. By Alexander Dumas,.Author of 'Monte Christo.' W. H. Graham, Tribune Buildings, N. Y.

This seems to throw the interest of romance about certain incidents in the history of France.


1. Whitman's use of 'Holidays' here should actually be 'Holydays,' as written in the title page of The Opal. "Holy" in this sense uses the religious connotation to reflect how this year's edition incorporated many religious texts and pictures. [back]

2. John Keese (1805–1856) was an American auctioneer, editor, and publisher. [back]

3. John Gadsby Chapman (1808–1889) was an American artist known for his painting Baptism of Pocahontas (1840) for the United States Capitol. [back]

4. An annual, also known as a gift book, was a nineteenth-century book intended to be given as a gift during the holidays. The Opal was a popular and important annual during this time. Gift books were not normally very religious but The Opal contained many contributions from clergymen as well as religious images. [back]

5. Sir Edwin Landseer (1802–1873), British painter known especially for his paintings of animals. [back]

6. Henry Wadsworth Longfellow (1807–1882), an American poet, known for "Paul Revere's Ride." Rev. John Pierpoint (1785–1866), a poet, teacher, minister, lawyer, and merchant from Connecticut. Henry Theodore Tuckerman (1813–1871) was an American essayist, critic, and writer from Boston. Rev. Henry Bidleman Bascom (1796–1850) was elected as the Bishop of the Methodist Church in 1850. He was also chaplain to the United States House of Representatives. Alfred Billings Street (1811–1881) was an American author and poet, and appointed New York State Librarian. John Greenleaf Whittier (1807–1892) was a Quaker poet and advocated for the abolishment of slavery. Mrs. Lydia Huntley Sigourney (1791–1865) was known as the "Sweet Singer of Hartford." Rev. Charles Edwards Lester (1815–1890) was an American diplomat and author born in Connecticut. [back]

7. Here Whitman misspelled the last name of one of the contributors. What is listed as "Rev. Mr. Shroeder" should actually be "Rev. Mr. Schroeder" according to the table of contents in The Opal. Rev. John Frederick Schroeder (1800–1857) was a minister of Trinity Church and was described in one source as an "admired, beloved, very popular minister." Schroeder left Trinity in 1839 after a conflict with a fellow minister. See A History of the Parish of Trinity Church in the City of New York (New York: G. P. Putnam's Sons, 1906) 197–204. [back]

8. The editors are unable to identify H. J. S****e. [back]


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